Romany Pilgrimage in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Every May, thousands of Roma, or gypsies, gather in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a tiny seaside town in the south of France. They come to take part in a pilgrimage in honor of Saint Sarah, an obscure figure regarded as the patron saint of the gypsies. The local horsemen of the Camargue region lead a procession of thousands of Catholic worshipers, both Roma and non-Roma, who carry the icon of Saint Sarah to take a ritual dip in the sea. In the evening, every corner of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is packed with tourists, pilgrims, gypsy musicians and flamenco dancers, all celebrating the pilgrimage and the gathering of people from across Europe.